Thursday, March 3, 2011

I have Googled every single topic about "libel"

Okay, time for a book update. So, my fabulous friend Kevin (normally the only person who manages to talk me off a cliff when I'm cocktailing at BV's and hating life) managed to get me in touch with a lawyer friend of his who is offering advice on the whole book situation regarding libel. A big thank you to Kevin, everyone, who is moving the book situation along much faster than intended.

I took a journalism ethics class in college when I was a journalism major. My teacher was basically the living, breathing persona of Peter Griffin from Family Guy, so not a whole lot of "ethics" were learned, though I once gave a hefty debate about how if I ever became a sports writer in Boston, I would never NOT wear a Yankees hat because of the rule of impartiality. But ethics? Nah. However, I learned a bit about libel, and now, with the possibility of going self publishing and sans legal department, I'm covering my bases in hopes of getting the non-fiction out. To be honest, the idea of doing several fiction books about this shit is just too fucking daunting. I'm not that patient. Or creative.

Lawyer friend of Kevin (Vince is his name, yay for Vince) has offered up the advice that if shit is true, it ain't libel. And if it is difficult to prove that it isn't true, it ain't libel. That part I knew, and I'm going to speak to Vince further on the phone tomorrow to pick his brain about the whole situation. Considering the non-fiction would stick to the mantra of "no real names used" and "teams and sports and dates changed", the guys have nothing to worry about (and to the ones who worry, you know who you are, trust me, you're out of it). I mean, again, there will always be guesses, but for the most part, all of these guys are also public figures (believe it or not, hard to imagine some of these guys being considered as such, I'm talking to you NHLer). Which also makes it a little bit easier for me to get around privacy situations.

I also did a lot of Googleing about Tucker Max and what shit he encountered regarding libel. Apparently, he fucked around with Miss Vermont circa 2001, and she slapped him with a restraining order and then he was forbidden to refer to the name "Katy" or "Johnson" or "Miss Vermont" or link to her site. But, she never claimed libel, which basically means the story is true and she is just pissed about it. I mean, are any of these athletes going to jump forward and be like NO I DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH STEF? Something tells me no. Anywy, she just said his stories fucked up her picture perfect image which is what she uses to sell herself. We all know athletes don't need a picture perfect image to sell themselves. And I have to wonder, if that's the whole situation with libel, then how come the Tiger Woods bitches didn't get sued? Or Wayne Rooney's jump off? Because it's true? But isn't there an issue with defamation? Like, isn't that part of the libel? I mean, Rachel Uchitel defamed Tiger Woods by telling the truth about him being a cheating sexaholic nerd fuck. But is the defamation part negated because that shit is true? That's the part I'm worried about. Not that anything I really say in my book defames anyone but myself (let's be real at this point I have no hopes of ever getting a real job that requires a background check). But guys are touchy and can pull shit out of their ass about being defamed in stupid ways. Bruised egos. But nothing I say in the book is false. Nothing. But I'd never be a dick and really come straight out and say mean things or shady shit about guys I've been with, particularly the ones who get guessed about a lot. I'm not about giving like, secrets away or anything. So in this sense, since what I'm writing is true (and I could prove it all, to be honest), and not really defaming the dudes, PLUS the dudes names and teams aren't being used....I can't get fucked with libel, right?

I know none of you are lawyers (at least I don't think?), so the question is rhetorical and I'll figure that shit out tomorrow when I speak with Vince. But I just have a lot of questions...for example - so my big concern is some dude will come after me saying "your friends and some people knew we slept together and were seeing each other from January 2010-August 2010 (made up dates by the way, just using them as an example). Therefore, people might put it together and think it's me". However, using that logic, shouldn't Tucker Max have been sued like, 47 times over by now? "Our friends knew you were the first guy I ever had anal sex with - you wrote a chapter about the first time you had anal sex. Therefore, people know this story is about me" - Tucker Max wrote a chapter about his first experience with anal sex (I never finished reading it, to be honest). So I mean, can this girl sue because someone, SOMEWHERE, might have known she was the first girl he had anal sex with? Like, what is the criteria and the level of knowledge that is used to determine how obvious it is that the story is about someone?

Ugh, I don't know. But I am very happy with the progress that's being made, if nothing else, and the positive feedback from Vince about the whole this not really being libelous thing. I also am knocking on the doors of some designers for cover art, and seeking out a freelancer for editing. I mean, the book is done for the most part. Two chapters out and those can be knocked out in a weekend.

Look you fuckers, I have promised you something awesome, and whether i make a fucking nickel from it, at this point, all I want to do is make you guys laugh. Seriously. But, I also don't want to get sued and end up with bad credit and never be able to buy a house. Might be a bad situation for my mother who already hates the fact that I live at home (I am so cool, don't even begin to tell me about it).

Tucker Max fucking USED that girl's name and her occupation, and STILL didn't get sued for libel. So does that mean I'm off the hook as well? GOD let's hope so.

4 comments:

  1. Could you change the names, or just refer to a guy by his first initial? Also, you might want to get a "2nd opinion" on the legal stuff just to make sure your bases are covered and the info you were given is accurate.
    Also, I would look online for forums where people who self-publish can post questions and discuss the ins and outs of self-publishing. I am sure there is something like that out there, and sometimes you get better answers from people who have been through the process themselves.

    P.S. I didn't even know who Tucker Max was before I started reading your blog. I finally googled him, and well, let's just say, I'm not impressed. Dude looks like Barney Rubble's somewhat "special" 3rd cousin.

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  2. As of right now, I have two lawyers saying the law is on my side. A lot of it has to do also with the fact that 99% of these guys are public figures as well. So if they were to claim libel, they'd have the additional burden of proving what was written was written with malice - aka that I totally disregarded the fact that what I said was untrue and intended to harm the person. Since everything on this blog points to "I don't want to screw any of these guys over, it's not my intent to fuck them over, and I'm not using names to protect their privacy", they'd have a seriously difficult time proving a.) anything I said is false (none of it is) and b.) I did it with intentions to harm and intentional malice.

    Sometimes I wish I followed through on law school....ha

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  3. I'm a lawyer, but I don't know squat about libel. And be happy you didn't follow through on law school-nine years out and I'm still paying for it. : ) Think about the Beckhams-in the US, their libel suit against In Touch for the simple reason they couldn't show malice. Good luck!

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  4. I think the fact that you've had this website up for a while and haven't gotten slapped with any lawsuits says something. Basically your book would be just like the website pretty much, right? I say go for it! Keep a lawyer on stand-by just in case, but it sounds like you are in the clear!

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